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J Biomater Appl. 2014 Mar;28(7):1039-50. doi: 10.1177/0885328213492573. Epub 2013 Jul 3.

Platelet-rich plasma combined with agarose as a bioactive scaffold to enhance cartilage repair: an in vitro study.

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1Orthopaedic Laboratory of Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether the platelet-rich plasma-agarose gel scaffold could be a bioactive scaffold capable of growth factors release for cartilage repair.


Porcine chondrocytes were seeded in agarose gel and platelet-rich plasma-agarose gel. During the 28-days culture, microstructure of hydrogels and morphologies of chondrocytes seeded in the hydrogels were observed using scanning electron microscope; viability of chondrocytes in gels was examined by live/dead assay; qualitative and quantitative analysis of glycosaminoglycan, collagen and DNA were assessed by histological, immunohistochemical staining and biochemical assay; gene expression was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction. In vitro cartilage ring models were used to evaluate the integration of the scaffolds, and the integration strength was analyzed by mechanical push-out tests.


Scanning electron microscope revealed both scaffolds had highly uniform porous structure. Live/dead scaffolds showed 100% cells alive in both groups. After 28-days culture, glycosaminoglycan, collagen, DNA content and chondrocyte-related genes expression in platelet-rich plasma-agarose gel were significantly higher than pure agarose gel. Integration strength in platelet-rich plasma-agarose gel was also higher compared to pure agarose gel.


Platelet-rich plasma showed a positive effect on chondrocytes proliferation, differentiation and integration between native cartilage and engineered tissue when combined with agarose gel. Our findings suggest that platelet-rich plasma-agarose gel scaffold is a promising bioactive scaffold for future cartilage tissue engineering and future clinical works.


Platelet-rich plasma; agarose; cartilage repair; scaffold

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